OK, hands up, this is the racing biography every National Hunt fan has been waiting for, and how can a book about all these famous horses fail to deliver? Expectations naturally were sky-high when the book finally arrived, and to be honest, I was slightly disappointed at first as the book DOES start a bit slow (maybe like Paul Nicholls himself as a jockey), but it does gather momentum eventually and finishes with a rush, an easy winner. A bit keen early on to convince his readers what a tough and hard-grafting bloke Nicholls was even as a young lad, once a trainer the story-telling gets more self-assured and relaxed, and it certainly does not come as a surprise that Nicholls has some stories to tell.
Even so stressing throughout the book that no professional should get emotionally attached to his horses, its good to read that some horses slip that net and became firm Nicholls favorites, the wonderful See More Business and Kauto Star first and foremost. Nicholls recalls famous wins and famous horses, does not spare with the odd crititc in the right place (he is rather outspoken about Flagship Ueberalls' american owners and about Oliver Carter, and I certainly agree on both counts); and all this in a very easy to read and fluent manner.
Apart from starting a bit slowly, the one other critic would probably be that Nicholls goes into too much detail about the Timmy-Murphy-episode, even though surely from his (Nicholls) point of view it was as embarrising as it comes.
Having given all possible stars to the Mick Fitzgerald biography, this book is ever so slightly below that particular book, but is most certainly a cracking read in its own right.
Get it and treasure a trip down the memory lane, and wait for Kauto Star to create more history in 2009/10. Even though Nicholls is still a relatively "young" trainer, this book does come at a good time, but it will be facinating to see the follow-up volume develop in front of our eyes over the next years.